Migration Paths - Modern-Day Migrants in the Performing Arts

By Natalie Gomez 

Careers in the performing arts inherently come with a life of constant migratory movement. Performers will find themselves in hundreds of different cities, or even countries, throughout their lives in order to pursue and share their art. Leaving one's home and having to readjust to new surroundings can have lingering effects on a person's brain, and being exposed to different cultures often ends up influencing their creative outputs.

To explore how this nomadic lifestyle has shaped the lives of performers, I have compiled interviews with three performers: an actor, a musician, and a dancer. Each artistic performer shares personal stories about how migration, the arts, and the brain intertwine in their lives. The achievements of these modern-day migrants in the performing arts serve as examples of how humanity can benefit from a more interconnected world.

UCSB Professor Irwin Appel and the Human Experience of Theater

(Courtesy of Irwin Appel)

Irwin Appel is the current Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), a professor of theater within the department, and the founding artistic director of the production company Naked Shakes. From 2005-2018 until becoming department chair, he was the director of UCSB’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Actor Training Program the only BFA Acting Program in the UC System. He has also worked as a professional actor, director, and composer across the United States as well as internationally since 1982. He received his education and training at Princeton University and The Juilliard School, where he was awarded an MFA equivalent. 

impactmania speaks with Irwin Appel to gain academic insight on the life of a traveling actor, how one designs curriculum in the performing arts for a global pool of students, and what seems to make plays universal even when they are consumed by different cultures. Throughout, he excitedly advocates for using theater as an avenue for inspiring humanity and empathy within local communities and world-wide.


Read the full interview on the impactmania site! http://www.impactmania.com/im/ucsb-professor-irwin-appel-and-the-human-e...


Galician Bagpiper Cristina Pato on Embracing Her Migration Path

(Photos by Xan Padrón)


Cristina Pato is an active touring artist, composer, producer, writer, and educator receiving particular international acclaim for her mastery of the Galician bagpipe and as a classical pianist. 


A current resident of New York City, her unique instrument has taken her on tours throughout the world, including regular performances in Europe and the United States and sporadic tours in India, Jerusalem, Angola, China, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Spain, her home country. Her last two solo albums, Migrations and Latina, are dedicated to exploring her U.S. immigration experience, and in 2011 she founded her own festival, called Galician Connection, with the aim to facilitate an intercultural dialogue through music.

She also serves as a Learning Advisor for Silkroad, founded by Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, an organization that creates music seeking to engage difference, spark radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning for a more hopeful and inclusive world. Additionally, she has designed lectures and held residences at a number of universities, including New York University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where she develops interdisciplinary learning projects based on the power of arts in society.

impactmania speaks with Cristina Pato about her active dual professional careers, in both performance and education, devoted to propelling cultural exchange as well as the way her immigration roots have shaped her. 


Finnish CEO Tarja Huuskonen: Dancing to Heal the Brain 

(Courtesy of Tarja Huuskonen)

Tarja Huuskonen, born and raised in Finland, has spent most of her life traveling the world — living both in Europe and in the United States, and most recently making California her new home.

She is the founder and CEO of Action for Results, a consulting company of 25+ years dedicated to advancing Life Sciences innovation by building new capabilities and connections. Her work eventually brought her to the Santa Barbara area, where she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2016 while kayaking. This was a near-death event that led her to use dance, specifically the Argentine tango, as a means to recovery.

Now a brain health activist and patient voice for other brain aneurysm survivors, Tarja is a national spokesperson and ambassador for the Lisa Foundation, and has started her own non-profit organization, the Harbor of Life, focused on empowering patients in their reentry to life within their local communities. She also sponsors a master’s level gap program at California State University Channel Islands, focused on brain aneurysm early stage product innovation. Tarja is a sought after public speaker and advisor on medical product innovation and corporate and personal transformations.

impactmania speaks with Tarja Huuskonen about her migration experience, what she has learned from designing and heading a global company, and her thoughts on the way dance interacts with the brain.

Read the full interview on the impactmania site! http://www.impactmania.com/im/finnish-ceo-tarja-huuskonen-dancing-to-hea...